I could spend hours extolling the virtues of Duke as a character, but let’s face it, after over 50 different versions of the character, almost everything that could possibly be said about Duke has been said. While there isn’t a whole lot of new ground to cover when it comes to Duke the character, it’s interesting to look at this particular Duke action figure.
After the original 50th Anniversary run, there were rumblings among the fandom asking why we couldn’t get an updated version of Duke similar to Flint that we got in 2014. It was something that many folks asked for, in spite of the numerous versions of the character we’d already seen, because interestingly, Hasbro has never really done a modern update (past the questionable 25th Anniversary versions) that tied directly back to the vintage look.
Well, in 2016 Hasbro does a little bit of both, but I’m not certain the figure is better off for it.
While they certainly mirror the vintage look of the figure from a color perspective, Hasbro elects to modernize the figure with a bulkier, almost arctic looking uniform (using components from the Data Viper). The range of motion and articulation is really great, though the choice of different parts than, say the 2014 Flint does raise some eyebrows. Duke’s legs are from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper, though thankfully seems to have deeper foot holes that fit in the pegs better than some other figures that have shared these parts.
From a color scheme perspective, Duke obviously pulls homage from the 1983 version, but is cast in a strangely bright hue, his shirt looking much more vibrant (and thus a little less realistic) and his pants a deeper, richer green.
All in all, Duke definitely has the look of the character, though the colors don’t quite jive with a more realistic looking version of the figure. The sculpting and articulation are both really good, thanks to more modern figure components, but they look like a more arctic version of the figure. Also, for whatever its worth, once you take off Duke’s vest, his torso is from Rise of COBRA Breaker and looks really skinny next to the baggy cloth of the arms.
Duke comes with a wide array of cool weapons, though none of them especially stand point. He’s got a familiar machine gun and pistol, the green Shock Trooper tactical vest, smaller M249 heavy machine gun. He also has a green backpack. Pretty traditional looking weapons assortment that works fine, though isn’t especially remarkable.
Duke is one of the timeless characters of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero lore. Rather than go full bore vintage, Hasbro uses some vintage homages with some new twists, which generally I’m a fan of, though in this case it doesn’t work especially well. It’s a decent looking figure, but doesn’t bring a whole lot of new elements to the table, which feels necessary for yet another version of this character. Either go full vintage or go full on new, this walking the line in between isn’t especially effective.
Interestingly, in stark contrast to the other figure in this two-pack, rather than a long time established character with over 50 separate iterations, Tombstone is a brand spanking new character, something very much appreciated by this long time fan.
But is this being a new character enough to wow a discriminating collector?
Along with being a new character, Tombstone also has a great new head sculpt full of character. He’s a former COBRA trooper who has been through the wringer, and that’s immediately evident with one look at his face. The sculpt is good to boot. Looking at the figure build, it’s a decent one, with the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes arms, which I’m always a fan of and the Pursuit of COBRA Firefly legs. The result is a pretty skinny, but flexible figure, a character that looks especially lanky buried underneath the long and heavily armored tactical vest from Firefly.
Obviously the shining point of the figure is with the new head, and the new head is pretty great and pretty gnarly with a nasty scar over his right eye making the character look like he’s seen some stuff. It’s a really neat “battle worn” look for sure. One thing Hasbro does a good job with in looking at the part selection is the range of motion is great. Long limbs and non-restrictive joints means the figure can achieve all sorts of great firing positions, which is a nice effect of the way the figure was built.
There’s a healthy run of purple and black throughout the figure, which leaves it nicely dark, but with some interesting colors, though I’m really not sure what’s up with the stark white shoulder armor. It’s not an especially realistic color and it stands out in distinct contrast to the rest of the dark figure. It’s not a bad look, just a bit on the odd side.
The backstory for Tombstone is certainly interesting, as a psychological operations guy who is now essentially the field commander for the COBRA Viper corps. It gives him some intriguing twists and lends some credence to his strange accessory compliment. The figure itself aesthetically looks decent, but doesn’t quite come together in all areas with some off color combinations and very lanky parts selection. That being said, he’s a figure that even with existing parts manages to stand out from the crowd, which is a good thing.
I’m not really sure what to make of Tombstone’s accessories other than to assume, they were more or less randomly chosen without a clear indication of purpose. He’s got a great assault rifle, but then comes with the old school gas grenade launcher alongside futuristic laser weapons. It’s possible these are meant to be some kind of state of the art pyschosis weapons to go along with his psychological warfare specialty, but that’s not clearly stated anywhere. The weapons are fine, they’re just kind of there.
I’m always a fan of new characters and great new head sculpts and Tombstone has both of these, which gives him a major edge in my book. Some of the construction choices leave me scratching my head a bit and the color combinations are interesting. The newness of the character and head, however, overcome some of those design choices and leave me with a sense of satisfaction with the figure.
The fine folks over at Marauder “Gun Runners” have sent an email to let backers now that all Valkyrie figures from the Kickstarter campaign have been shipped!
Not only that, but they’re coming with a special bonus as well… with extra torsos included for all. Check out the full email below… I can’t wait to get my hands on these figures, they look awesome!
Dear “814 Valtaskers!”
All orders have shipped! We shipped international orders first and then domestic orders. Our intention was for “most” of the orders to arrive “around” the same time. Everyone should have received an email with tracking (that is if you provided the correct email address and we correctly entered the info). If you didn’t get tracking, check your spam folder. Still no tracking, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you encounter any issues after you receive your Kickstarter reward package, PLEASE be so kind as to contact us FIRST at: email@example.com BEFORE posting on facebook or the message boards. We don’t read all the posts on social media or on the various sites, so the only way we’ll know there is any type of error and be able to correct that issue is if you do us the courtesy of letting us know!
EVERY Kickstarter reward package received at least ONE bonus Valkyries female T-shirt torso. To place the t-shirt torso on the figure, just “pop” off the fatigue torso and “pop” on the t-shirt torso. No need to go “Hulk” on the body parts, they should easily separate and stay securely attached. In addition, EVERYONE that ordered a Recon Ops female Valkyries figures ALSO received a bonus fatigue torso (in addition to the t-shirt torso). Also, everyone that ordered the black Night-Ops figure received a set of armored forearms and a set of cloth forearms for each figure. To change the forearms, Just warm up the upper arms of the figure in hot water to swap the forearms. Side note, we were able to add Marauder “Gun-Runners” bonus pens to only some orders, since we received the pens very late in the packing/shipping process.
Here are some quick solutions to possible questions after you get your items:
-When attaching the clear visors to the flight helmets, do NOT insert the entire visor into the slit on the front of the helmet. Push the tiny black knob on the visor through the helmet slit from INSIDE the helmet. After insertion, adjust the position of the visor so it can easily be moved up & down.
-The removable Hood works BEST with BALACLAVA HEADS. If you put the hood on other heads, it can be difficult to remove the head from the hood . Again, BEST to use the hood with the Balaclava heads.
-Peg holes on the foot bottom of the tan Desert Ops Valkyries are TOO big for our IDS stands (only the tan female figure has the peg issue, all other versions are fine). “Corrected” feet are on the way to us, but we did not want to hold up the orders for the feet. So, if the peg hole is an issue, we can add replacement feet to a future order.
-The peg for the rifle sheath backpack might require a tiny piece of tape around the tip to fit snug in the back hole of some of the figures. We have encountered this on some of the figures and this non-permanent solution corrects any problems.
We required almost everything we received to fill the Kickstarter reservations, so the MTF Valkyries items and the new MTF accessories won’t be live on the website until we receive the rest of the initial shipment. No definite date as of yet, but we hope soon. Rest assured, we have a small reserve amount of the MTF Valkyries items on hand to take care of any errors or mix-ups related to the Kickstarter reward packages.
Again, thank you for your support and we REALLY hope you like the items.
Pre-Order the Blanks at BossFightShop – Either Female or Male!
As 2016 comes to a close, we celebrate the year of Vitruvian HACKS, a year full of thrilling new product, exciting new directions, and a rainbow’s worth of customizing blanks that continue to appear and impress.
Along with all of the vibrant colors of said rainbow, a short while ago Boss Fight Studio released their long awaited Transparent Blanks, figures produced in crystal clear colors providing a wealth of great opportunities for new characters or interesting combinations. I’ve checked out and reviewed many different colors of blanks throughout the year, but these Transparent Blanks have to be at the top of my favorites list…something about these clear figures is just too cool for words.
I’ve never really been infatuated with clear figures as some other folks are, but I can appreciate a unique design aesthetic when I see it, and these figures certainly have it. What’s especially cool is that the majority of the interior of these figures is also produced in clear plastic, so the effect of the figure is really remarkable. Obviously you do see the metal screw, but they manage to make the rest of the figure quite clear, which looks even more amazing once you start equipping the figures with gear.
While the ghostly clear look on its own is impressive in its own right, the figures really shine once armor starts being applied and you get a very spirit-like vibe with armor that appears to just float there in mid air. The result is characters that look almost supernatural.
Leveraging the different variations of translucent accessories also lends some amazingly cool looks to these clear figures, showing layers of opaqueness that really pop among more traditionally decoed and designed figures. The look of these clear figures is truly impressive, and I end up loving this blanks quite a bit. I may end up picking up quite a few more of these along the way, I can think of tons of creative uses for them.
Each blank comes with three heads, three sets of feet (boots, bare, and sandals), two sets of hands (one jointed forward/back, one jointed side-to-side) and the footpeg to help them stand. I could actually see someone producing a full line of just blanks, the fact that Vitruvian HACKS offers them as compliments to a full blown universe and toyline is absolutely amazing.
I really enjoy the way the multitude of transparent figures are coming together and make for a great group of supernatural beings supporting the Gods and bringing the battle to the Gorgon Horde!
Big thanks to skinny over on Twitter who has forwarded some images of upcoming Prime 1 G.I. Joe statues for Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes which were apparently revealed at Tokyo ComicCon. By all accounts, Prime 1 offerings are not inexpensive, but the detailing and sculpt work on these two statues is pretty incredible.
Check out the mirrored images below as well as embedded YouTube video. The images mostly come from the Prime 1 Instagram account. You can see two different versions of each character below. Pretty awesome looking stuff.
We are officially neck deep inside IDW Publishing’s Revolution roller coaster, and just today, the G.I. Joe: Revolution One Shot hits comic shops! It’s a Revolution story focused on the G.I. Joe side of the house, continuing IDW’s existing universe, but weaving it into this over-arcing Revolution story.
So how did it work? Click the Read More link for the full review!
I know I’ve been lagging a little bit behind on my reviews for the most recent G.I. Joe product, but now, with huuuuuuuge thanks to Chris from The Full Force podcast, we have a video review for the Duke vs. Tombstone 2 Pack! This video was a huge undertaking as Chris combed through years of history to look at nearly every single version of Duke that exists.
Anyway, hit up the GeneralsJoes YouTube Page for the latest review, and I promise written reviews (and more video ones, too!) are on the way.